27 maart 2010


Japan dilemma

Dear readers,

I have dilemma and would like to hear your opinions. This year, the International Primatological Society meeting (IPS) is in Japan. Now most of you may know that Japan is one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to conservation, especially marine life. Japan still hunts whales, is the country that has just made sure the Bluefin Tuna is going extinct at the CITES meeting and after seeing the movie The Cove, i pretty much decided never ever to go to Japan. But then, for my work, for the macaques, and for the foundation, it would be very good if i go to this meeting.
My very personal opinion is that i think many more IPS attandants should make a statement about this. Why would we give Japan the chance to show that they are serious about conserving our natural world when at the same time they don't care whatsoever about the fact that they are the number 1 country that is causing many fish species to go extinct and have absolutely no respect for animal welfare???

21 maart 2010


I won the Future for Nature award 2010!

By now, most of you will know that I won the Future for Nature award 2010. I have known this for a little while, but of course this had to stay a secret.
Last Friday was the award ceremony and I have been working really hard before this day to make my presentations (I had to do an extra one for the beneficiaries of Burgers Zoo (one of the big sponsors and the venue of the award day)) and to be prepared for press and even chosing my outfit was a challenge ;-)
I can say that it was one of the most amazing days of my life. The other 2 winners, Jean Thomas from Australia(and her husband Jim...who deserves all credits too) who fight for the Tenkile Tree kangaroo in Papua New Guinea and Alberto Campos from Brazille who fights for the survival of 2 very special bird species and the manatee, were super!! I very much enjoyed meeting them and was proud to share the stage with them.

I am still in a kind of state of shock, the whole event was just so beautiful and inspiring. It was an incredible honour for me too meet Angela Cropper from UNEP but especially Saba Douglas Hamilton. I am very greatful to her for her support and encouragement on that day and her incredible words when she introduced me on stage.

My presentation went really well, I was nervous until the moment i had to get on stage, but when i was there, I felt really confident and enjoyed it a lot.

I can't describe how much i appreciate Future for Nature for doing this work and supporting young conservationists in their battles. It is not only the financial support, all though 50.000 Euro is an incredible amount, but it is also the support and motivation you get and feel by winning this award.

I am more motivated than ever to help the Barbary macaques now and i hope many of you will support me and MPC to do this.
I have been doing a lot of media lately and hope many people out there will spread the word and help us to make this planet a better place for the future generations!

Thank you everybody who has always believed in me and stood by me and motivated me. Without you I would not be where I am now.

Pictures and video of the award day will follow shortly.

03 maart 2010


Visit to South Africa

Recently Hanneke van Ormondt and I have visited CARE, a chacma baboon sanctuary in South Africa, run by Rita Miljo and some dedicated volunteers and staff. We also visited the Vervet foundation that shelters vervet monkeys and is run by David and Josie Du Toit.

The reason for this visit was for me to learn from both centers how to run a sanctuary for primates under often difficult circumstances in Africa. Also at CARE I got ideas for the first enclosure that we are going to build for Barbary macaques in Morocco. Both sanctuaries have plans or have already reintroduced their groups back to the wild, with success, and that is something we might be doing in the future in Morocco too.

I was very impressed with both sanctuaries. CARE is located along the Olifants river near Kruger national park and is a trully magical and wild place, where so many baboons, that until recently were considered vermin, are cared for with so much love. Rita and her team were extremely welcoming and I thank Rita so very much for her time and sharing all the information with me.

The Vervet foundation shelters many vervet monkeys that also come from the pet trade or are found in need of help and although it is set up totally different than CARE, due to the difference in species, I was also impressed by the huge enclosures and the dedication to sheltering this species. I am greatful to David and Josie for their time and information.

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